Is it really a Core i7 to play?

Is it really a Core i7 to play?

Myth

Hyper-Threading of i7 is important for games.

Reality

WRONG!

Explanation

We will compare i5 2500 (K) and i7 2600 (K) on one side, and 760 i5 and i7 930 from each other.
Note that the only differences between the i5 and i7 Sandy Bridge (2500 (K) and 2600 (K)) are:
  • A 100 MHz frequency higher for the i7
  • 2 MB of L3 cache in addition to the i7
  • Hyper-Threading technology i7


The differences between the i5 and i7 Nehalem are less marked, since the frequencies are identical, and the Turbo Boost mode i7 is even worse. The i5 i7 differs in that it:
  • The i7 Hyper Threading
  • The i7 has Triple Channel mode (only on the i7 9xx)
  • The "Uncore" the i7 is a bit better than the i5 (2400 MHz against 2133 MHz)


Low improvements Uncore and memory controller (Nehalem), cache and frequency (Sandy Bridge) do not provide significant gains in practice, it is more interested in the effect of Hyper Threading in games for both architectures.

Effect of Hyper Threading in games

Comparing performance in Crysis game, Dirt 2 and Far Cry on an i7 980X, the average gain is less than 1% when HT is enabled.

The situation is less glorious on other games (Oblivion, World in Conflict, FEAR and ETQW), since generally seen losses of about 0.2 to 4% when HT is enabled.

Some games are indifferent to the activation of the Hyper-Threading, others react negatively when this option is enabled (as ArmA II, where the performance drop is higher than 10%!).

same is observed in the game Metro 2033 if the 2600K has a frame rate slightly higher than the i5 2500K, the minimum FPS is much lower on the i7: the lag will be more marked on the i7.

Conversely, Hyper Threading is much more favorable to some newer games like Crysis 3 and Watch Dogs.

sources

http://www.hardware.fr/focus/101/perfs-avec-2-4-6-8-coeurs-4-jeux-loupe.html

http://www.generation-gpu.fr/UserImgs/imgs/Articles-/Gulftown_I7980/HT.png

http://www.presence-pc.com/tests/sandy-bridge-23336/18/

http://www.hardware.fr/articles/778-10/crysis.html

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-review-intel-core-i7-2600k-i5-2500k-core-i3-2100-tested/20

Conclusion

In conclusion, we observe that unlike professional applications where this feature is very useful, the games do not really take advantage of Hyper-Threading.
However, this feature has averaged a gain, albeit limited.

But pay € 70 more for an i7 is not justified so far, since a virtually will i5 as well, and to play better to invest the € 70 in a better graphics card!
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